Wednesday, May 27, 2009

UPDATE - The Problem with Allegorical Novels (Part 2)

I thought I would clarify a few things about the post I wrote about a week ago, regarding allegorical novels that don't work. In my post, I wanted to talk about two things:

1. How The Shack just isn't a good work of fiction or a good use of allegory and

2. I wanted to talk about how people no longer discriminate between fiction and non-fiction in literature; how truth is relative; and start a discussion in the comments as to what we can do to correct that error in thinking.

However, I feel like I was a bit remiss or perhaps irresponsible in not pointing out more clearly the theological problems with The Shack. I was writing my post from the perspective of a Christian, with the idea of a Christian audience in mind. I get in my little bubble and forget that this blog is accessible to the whole blogosphere and there might be people reading this other than my friends and acquaintences.

If you are Christian who is grounded in the Word, there's nothing wrong with reading The Shack as a piece of fiction. As I said, it is an interesting, although not very successful or accurate, exercise in describing the Trinity. Christians should read all written work (both fiction and non-fiction) with discernment, and hopefully this book will spur you on to deeper study of the Trinity. However, this book can be potentially very dangerous for a new Christian, or for a non-believer.

I just read an extremely thoughtful, well-written critical review of The Shack and thought I would paraphrase the six major problems that were outlined in the review. Information about where to obtain the full review is at the bottom of this post.*

1. The book presents Christians as not having understood the faith. In the story, experience outweighs revelation and Christianity must be revised in order to be understood.

2. The book presents a false view of God, that is contrary to scripture.

3. The book claims that God does not need to punish sin, which is also in direct contradiction to scripture.

4. The book presents the false view of the person and work of Christ, and a false understanding of the Incarnation.

5. The book has a false understanding of hierarchy in the Bible and within the Trinity.

6. The book promises freedom without presenting the Gospel.

*The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity, Book Review by William C. Roach, Christian Apologetics Journal, Volume 7, No. 2, Fall 2008, (c) by Southern Evangelical Seminary 2008

1 comment:

mikeo75 said...

You posted this awhile ago, and it's been awhile since I read the book, but I didn't see much wrong with it that an average person would see just as a casual reading.

The problems the reviewer had with the book are probably not evident to a new Christian.

I think the real importance or impact of the book is that our relationship with God can be as easy as if it were three friends over for dinner.

I know there is a lot more going on, but I didn't see it as "dangerous."

Just my thoughts!